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Highways Act 1980

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[F1119DDiversion of certain highways for protection of sites of special scientific interest.E+W

(1)Subsection (3) below applies where, on an application made in accordance with this section by the appropriate conservation body, it appears to a council, as respects any relevant highway for which they are the highway authority and which is in, forms part of, or is adjacent to or contiguous with, a site of special scientific interest—

(a)that public use of the highway is causing, or that continued public use of the highway is likely to cause, significant damage to the flora, fauna or geological or physiographical features by reason of which the site of special scientific interest is of special interest, and

(b)that it is expedient that the line of the highway, or part of that line should be diverted (whether on to land of the same or another owner, lessee or occupier) for the purpose of preventing such damage.

(2) In subsection (1) “ relevant highway ” means—

(a)a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway,

(b)a highway which is shown in a definitive map and statement as a footpath, a bridleway or a restricted byway but over which the public have a right of way for vehicular and all other kinds of traffic, or

(c)any highway which is shown in a definitive map and statement as a byway open to all traffic,

but does not include any highway that is a trunk road or special road.

(3)Where this subsection applies, the council may, by order made by them and submitted to and confirmed by the Secretary of State, or confirmed as an unopposed order,—

(a)create, as from such date as may be specified in the order, any such—

(i)new footpath, bridleway or restricted byway, or

(ii)in a case falling within subsection (2)(b) or (c) above, new highway over which the public have a right of way for vehicular and all other kinds of traffic,

as appears to the council requisite for effecting the diversion, and

(b)extinguish, as from such date as may be specified in the order or determined in accordance with the provisions of subsection (6) below, the public right of way over so much of the way as appears to the council to be requisite for the purpose mentioned in subsection (1)(b) above.

(4) An order under this section is referred to in this Act as an “ SSSI diversion order ”.

(5)An SSSI diversion order shall not alter a point of termination of the highway—

(a)if that point is not on a highway, or

(b)(where it is on a highway) otherwise than to another point which is on the same highway, or a highway connected with it.

(6)Where it appears to the council that work requires to be done to bring the new site of the highway into a fit condition for use by the public, the council shall—

(a)specify a date under subsection (3)(a) above, and

(b)provide that so much of the order as extinguishes (in accordance with subsection (3)(b) above) a public right of way is not to come into force until the local highway authority for the new highway certify that the work has been carried out.

(7)A right of way created by an SSSI diversion order may be either unconditional or (whether or not the right of way extinguished by the order was subject to limitations or conditions of any description) subject to such limitations or conditions as may be specified in the order.

(8)Before determining to make an SSSI diversion order, the council may require the appropriate conservation body to enter into an agreement with them to defray, or to make such contribution as may be specified in the agreement towards,—

(a)any compensation which may become payable under section 28 above as applied by section 121(2) below,

(b)to the extent that the council are the highway authority for the highway, any expenses which they may incur in bringing the new site of the highway into fit condition for use for the public, or

(c)to the extent that the council are not the highway authority, any expenses which may become recoverable from them by the highway authority under the provisions of section 27(2) above as applied by section 119E(6) below.

(9)The Secretary of State shall not confirm an SSSI diversion order, and a council shall not confirm such an order as an unopposed order, unless he, or as the case may be, they are satisfied that the conditions in subsection (1)(a) and (b) are satisfied, and that it is expedient to confirm the order having regard to the effect which—

(a)the diversion would have on public enjoyment of the right of way as a whole;

(b)the coming into operation of the order would have as respects other land served by the existing public right of way; and

(c)any new public right of way created by the order would have as respects the land over which the right is so created and any land held with it,

so, however, that for the purposes of paragraphs (b) and (c) above the Secretary of State or, as the case may be, the council shall take into account the provisions as to compensation referred to in subsection (8)(a) above.

(10)Schedule 6 to this Act has effect as to the making, confirmation, validity and date of operation of SSSI diversion orders.

(11)This section has effect subject to section 119E below.

(12)In this section—

  • the appropriate conservation body ” means—

    (a)

    as respects England, [F2Natural England] , and

    (b)

    as respects Wales, [F3the Natural Resources Body for Wales];

  • site of special scientific interest ” has the same meaning as in the M1 Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. ]

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Amendments (Textual)

F1S. 119D inserted (21.5.2007 for E. and otherwise prosp.) by 2000 c. 37, ss. 57, 103(3), Sch. 6 Pt. I para. 12; S.I. 2007/1493, art. 2

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